The blog has been quiet, as I’ve had lots of time travelling, firstly to Brisbane, for school and bookshop visits, followed by an unexpected (short notice) trip to Singapore to catch up with our son (briefly!) and experience the richly diverse country that he is calling ‘home’.
One morning in Singapore I was delighted to discover a long-tailed macaque monkey in the bushes by our motel pool. Seeing animals in zoos (like the luscious Singapore Zoo, which we did enjoy later in the week – with monkeys!) is always lovely – but when they pop up, in the wild… that is super-something-special! I snapped lots of pics of our furry friend.
A little later, a comment on an Instagram post reminded me that this was Notables Day – when the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) announced the longlist of books for the 2018 Book of the Year Awards. I had been monkeying around, completely unawares… Curious, I checked Twitter to see who had made the list… My Notifications had gone a little crazy, (And so did I!) because ‘Too Many Friends’ was named as a Younger Readers Notable Book – the first time, I’ve had a book on the longlist!
I think the surprise factor will always be my favourite part of this memory – and the monkey! I love that I was hanging out with a monkey, blissfully unaware of this auspicious news!
(I hope there are many more monkeys in my future! 😉 )
It was so lovely to catch up with fellow UQP author, Pip Harry for a celebration at Sarnies the next day. Pip is an Aussie author living in Singapore, and her YA novel, ‘Because of You’ made the Older Readers Notables list, so there were smiles all round! And such fun to share the joy, so far from home!
There are so many great books on the list – from friends and writers I have long admired. I am still mighty chuffed to be sharing space with them!
This post is a part of the Poetry Friday link-up around the blogosphere.
You’ll find more poetry posts, including Tips for Teachers, at Today’s Little Ditty.
I am always getting caught out with Carol Varsalona’s Seasonal Poetry Collections – because I’m not ‘living’ in the season at the time poems are being collated. Last week I went trawling past photos taken during Winter in Australia (June/July/August). Here are a couple of poetry bites I’m happy with, for the current collection. You’ll note there is no snow in my winter poems. 🙂 (There is no snow, in my winter! 😦 )
This week, of course… The Moon.
I’ve never actually set out to photograph the moon before – and will always see it differently, now.
Last week Irene Latham shared some poems inspired by a prompt in the book, POEMCRAZY: Freeing Your Life with Words by Susan G. Wooldridge. Irene’s words, heart and wisdom were inspiring, and worthy of reading, here. The task was to 1) name an object, 2) describe it, likening it to something else, then, 3) ask it to bring you a quality it has. Whilst my poem was inspired by an evening with the super blue blood moon, it kept reverting back to the purity of the full moon, before it was cast into shadow… (And truth be told, my blood moon photos are not very good.)
I’m curious to know if you recognise my moon from your part of the world. 🙂
This week I’ve been super-productive with my picture books. I put the final polish on a picture book manuscript inspired by this little bird on our trip to Antarctica, then shared it with the lovely, talented and passionate children’s librarian, Kim Yeomans, who delighted me when she described it as, ‘a ‘quiet’ story with depth and light and shade. It ebbs and flows with tension and emotion.’
For a complete contrast, I then worked on a rhyming picture book I’ve had in my head for some time – well, I’ve had a four-lined repeating stanza, but that was all. I was thrilled when the rest of it romped out midweek, pure silliness and fun, and exactly the riot I was hoping it would be.
Alas, this then happened …
Which still makes me giggle … and blush! Whatever does the courier guy think???!? (The hazards of living in a rural location, where you can be loud and proud and not worry about the neighbours, when you ROAR! 😳)
On that cheerful note, as promised last week, I leave you with two more lai poems, these written over the New Year weekend. What is a lai? You can read more here. (I conformed with syllables but broke some rules with line breaks, in ‘Go Fly’.) They are definitely a form I will delight in revisiting in future.
Today is Australia Day, so I’m off with friends climbing Mount Larcom — hoping for clear skies and a cool breeze, so we can enjoy a view over Gladstone Harbour and scattered islands; a little portion of this beautiful country that we are fortunate enough to call home. Who knows what poetry that will inspire?
Afternote: I am now exhausted but triumphant after a 3am start to conquer the mountain. Alas, the peak was shrouded in mist for the duration, so perhaps we were the losers after all … although it was cool! #win (More pics on my Insta-story, if you’re quick; @Kat.Apel)
2017 was a huge year for our family. So many milestones and achievements for our two lads. We never could have imagined what an exciting year it would be! These last few months I have put writing on hold to immerse myself in the mum-moments. To relive and create new memories. 2018 will bring time in abundance to write … 2018 is our year of Change.
To be honest, I struggle with change. I miss special things that will never be the same – even when it’s change for the best of reasons. Though I have been soooo excited for both our lads and the opportunities that await them this year, eight days before the eldest’s departure, it hit me. Things were never going to be the same again. Life was entering an exciting and different stage. There would be … change!
I may have cried … for days … (And that was before he left.) There may have been times I thought I would choke on my sadness. Squeezing tight then letting go may have been one of the hardest things I’ve done. He may have flown over the oceans; so far away – for so long. And I may have survived! I may even be smiling again. Change may not have been as bad as I had imagined … (I should have learnt this by now.)
Which is just as well, because that is only the first of the changes in store for our family this year!
This post is a part of the Poetry Friday link-up. The poetry form I’ve played with is the lai – a French style following an AAB rhyme scheme over three 3-lined stanzas. The first two lines have 5 syllables, and the third has 2 – and there are only the two rhymes used throughout. You can read my first lai, about willie wagtails, here. I’ve enjoyed writing lais for different photos taken over the new year period – so expect to see more, in coming weeks. 🙂
The last month, I’ve been alternating between polishing (and submitting) picture books, and writing poetry. I’m busily at work on my Antarctic historical verse novel – trying new poetic forms and realising all over again how beneficial poetry is for writing. Truly seriously, if you are a principal, literacy coach, or classroom teacher (if you value writing muscle and creativity), you NEED poetry in your classrooms. Regularly! I know I say it often – but after an extended period of time fashioning facts into strict poetic forms I’m going to say it again – nothing builds writing muscle better than poetry. Nothing sparks creativity, wordplay and experimentation with literary devices better than poetry. It’s a challenge. It’s invigorating and rewarding. It’s valuable. It’s FUN!
Why aren’t we encouraging and enabling more kids to write more poetry?
Why do we clutter their curriculum with so many persuasives that kids can’t even be persuaded to want to WRITE!? Everything feels so prescribed. Actually, I had a little rant about something similar on Twitter last week. So maybe I should just combine the two, and do the job properly! In the hope that someone who writes curriculum might one day stumble on my blog, I’m just going to include a couple of the tweets here…
To illustrate my point, about the muscle, creativity and economy of poetry, I’ll include a little snippet from my Antarctic WIP. And a picture. From Antarctica… (Any excuse to revisit Antarctica!!)
The poem is a tetractys, (or in this case, a double tetractys) and follows a specific syllable count.
Line 1 – 1 syllable
Line 2 – 2 syllables
Line 3 – 3 syllables
Line 4 – 4 syllables
Line 5 – 10 syllables
The double tetractys reverses the syllable count in the second half. A tetractys can rhyme. Often mine do – but in this one I was focused on the facts and wordplay. And so many details! (Read more about the tetractys.)
Current version (after three days of tweaks) – which I can’t guarantee won’t change… but I’m feeling pretty chuffed with!
slick, too-smooth ice,
frozen obstacle course and push-pull squalls.
Do not snuff the lantern! Record results.
Face and fingers
Tetractys © Kathryn Apel 2017 – All rights reserved
There are so many different forms of poetry – something for every reader, writer and situation. Some forms have ‘rules’, like the tetractys, while others offer freedom. Poetry is a wealth of creativity just waiting to be unleashed!
Irene will help you Live Your Poem (Yay!) as she collects the links for the #PoetryFriday round-up today. Thanks, Irene. Whether you’re a reader, a writer, an educator or a student, (anyone, really) I’m sure you’ll find good stuff there!
The big and exciting news is that Text as Art, produced by Creative Regions, went live last weekend (right before Bundaberg was inundated with over 300mm of rain in 24hrs for the wettest October on record – in just one day!) Fortunately, the artworks survived – and look fantabulous!! I took 120 photos in my wandering mid-week – but of course I can’t show them all, here. (Or anywhere, for that matter.) But I will share some. There is also the conundrum – how best to showcase the project – yet leave it so that there is more to uncover for those who can visit in person. ALSO (big part of it) there is the fact that, when I started to do a collage for each of the collaborations, it took forAGES! So – you just get this. And if you want to see more, (or bigger pics) check out #textasart on Instagram – or my kat.apel insta-page. Meanwhile, I give you … this little piggy!
And a little glimpse at the full collection… that does not do it justice. 😦 (You would need the words, for a start…)
The ephemeral artwork will be on display until 16th October. A huge congratulations to Trudie Leigo (project curator) and all the talented writers and artitsts (listed below – writer, then artist) involved in the project. I wish I could showcase every aspect of your wonderful word/ks – and the stories behind the inspirations. It has been such fun to be involved with this projects – which has certainly enhanced our city’s streets, and exceeded any expectations I had. Job very well done!
1. National Australia Bank – Kat Apel & Adrienne Williams
2. School of Arts – Lonnie Toy & Marlies Oakley
3. Brick wall adjacent to School of Arts/driveway – Sam Ephraims & Jay Feather
4. Bundaberg Regional Council – Jake Thompson & Taylor Klassen
5. Bundaberg Regional Council/Civic Centre fronting Buss Park – Jo Williams & Judith Bohm-Parr
6. Tree located in nature strip between Buss Park & Moncrieff – Jassy Watson & Lynda Vertigan
7. Burnett Mary Regional Group – Annette Tyson & Paul Perry
8. Moncrieff Entertainment Centre – Wendy Davis & Michelle Pacey
9. Civic Arcade floor (157 Bourbong St) – Cheryl Ratcliffe & Jeremy Kiraly
10. Telstra Exchange – Jenny Gilbertson & Julie Hylands
This weekend I’m attending a workshop on Transmedia Storytelling, at Bundaberg WriteFest (another Crush Festival event) and I’m a part of the Writing in the Regions panel. The Crush Festival activities continue next week, a highlight being the Great Gelato Groove, where there will be words… and gelato at Allowishus (So Delicious!) … which basically means that you’re all so jealous! Yes? 😉
Violet at Violet Nesdoly | Poems has our PoetryFriday round-up this week. My little corner of the world has been blessed by rain, words, art and joy, but it has been another horrific week in America, and that will surely shape a lot of blog posts this round. I know I am not alone in my incomprehension. Not just from the unspeakable act itself, but the very fact that after all these too-oft repeated events, the laws don’t change. I just can’t…
I would not buy
is not a game;
life is not
to be toyed with.
© Kathryn Apel
I cannot leave this post there, so I’ll share this old friend, with a new voice, that appeared in my tweet-stream yesterday, courtesy of Martha Mihalick.
Adrienne Williams is an artist in the Bundaberg-region who I met recently through my involvement in the Text as Art project – a part of WriteFest and the 2017 Crush Festival. Adrienne is in fact going to be creating the art from a portion of the text I have written – but that’s another story! (Click on the links if you’re wanting to know more.)
Adrienne’s collection, ‘Calling Home‘ is currently on display at the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery (BRAG), accompanied by Andy Wilson’s soundscape. ‘The Vault’, is the perfect space for this immersive, surround-sound visual feast. Stunning!
Enter ‘The Vault’ and you will experience a soundscape of the Subantarctic, including penguins (cue the memories!) skuas, seals and other native wildlife, and art of different sizes and dimensions, inspired by the penguins (individually and collectively) and the megaherbs of the Subantarctic region. There is so much to take in, and the grey-scale pallet is perfect – as are the select 3D pieces, with intricate cut-work.
There are also seals! Yes – large as life real-deal elephant seal beanbags that you can nestle into, kick back and absorb the experience.
BRAG is running ‘Get Inked‘ – a kids’ holiday workshop with Adrienne, on 21st September. (Bookings are essential.) But meantime, I thought a little bit of poetry might be nice… Adrienne’s penguins were just crying out for some shape poetry wordplay.
I had so much fun with these! They’re inspired by the image in the background of Adrienne’s photos, above. A modified version may even work its way into one of two projects I’m working on at the moment… which is a lovely little bonus! (They were just the impetus I needed to dive back into my Antarctic verse novel. Yay!)
I’m a little kicking-self here, because Michelle Barnes is hosting Poetry Friday this week, and I’d have loved to post my Abecedarian poem, since that’s the challenge she’s running on Today’s Little Ditty this month – but I really wanted to get Adrienne’s post in today, before her workshop – so… no Abecedarian this week. I’ll have that here for you next week.
Meanwhile, Bundy peeps, you have until 22 October to get into the Art Gallery and be transported to the Subantarctic. Don’t miss this opportunity!
A little child shall lead them – up the garden path!
I toyed with posting these poems for last week’s play-based learning post… until I remembered my dress-ups poem and Soapy Sid. But these were too cute to keep – so why not share them this week, instead? Poems inspired by gorgeous things my boys have said.
Sowing Seeds to Bake Buns
A four year-old was castigating Mother on her waste,
when throwing out the sesame seeds, in her clean-up haste.
He grabbed the bread roll packet and retrieved it from the bin,
still scolding, as he hunted for a pot to put them in.
His mother patiently explained, “We cannot plant these seeds.”
But laddie was intent upon his propagation deeds.
“Well how will we get more buns then?” the boy wanted to know.
“We won’t have more fresh buns if we don’t plant the seeds to grow!”
Toadstool in a Tutu
The little girl up on the stage, all dressed in glossy white,
was twirling on her slippered toes and prancing with delight.
Her tutu wasn’t made of tulle, all ruched with gathering,
but satin, stretched across a hoop – a flat and skinny thing.
A young boy in the audience was clearly quite entranced,
but baffled by the rigid skirt that quivered as she danced.
This mystery he had to solve, before it drove him mad…
“Is she a mushroom, or a toadstool?” asked the puzzled lad.
I like shopping trips with my son.
He turns mundane chores into fun!
When buying tinned tuna
that featured a schooner
he cried, “There’s a boat in this one!”
my boy edits
the cubby house
a construction project
and a poem
he edits everything
that needs fixing
because mum is
Poetry © Kathryn Apel
All rights reserved
Matt Forrest Esenwine will be shining a flashlight on Poetry Friday this week, so click across to https://mattforrest.wordpress.com to share your links and light up your night (and day) with poetry. 🙂